Do your customers feel like they can trust your brand? Can they recognise it instantly in a sea of other brands fighting for their attention?
Good branding can give your business personality and humanity, helping your audience to connect to you in ways that will increase engagement and profits in equal measure. Branding makes you recognisable and ensures your customers remember you and keep coming back.
For small businesses trying to compete on the world stage with other, larger, more established companies, branding can become a secret weapon. Using your brand to reach out to the right people in the right ways means you don't have to have an expensive ad campaign or endless reviews on Trustpilot.
Here are some of the best branding agencies for small businesses.
Starting from the top...
Manchester-based MadeByShape is an award-winning agency specialising in branding, web design, web development, eCommerce, and organic SEO.
The team offers creative talent, industry knowledge, a bespoke, professional, trustworthy service, and a good sense of humour.
One of their greatest skills lies in their ability to adapt to business size, industry, and sector without a second thought, so even the smallest of businesses can feel confident that they’ll enjoy a professional, personalised approach, regardless of budget and project size.
Their impressive portfolio features everyone from big names like Blackberry and L'Occitane, to smaller businesses like home accessories and furnishing retailers Idyll Home and women’s active and loungewear store Relevé Clothing.
If this is your first foray into branding for your small business, you may feel nervous about what to expect. This is where MadeByShape shines, and their independent reviews paint a picture of a friendly and approachable, yet talented and communicative team who go out of their way to make any client big or small feel at ease.
They handle every branding project in-house, from research and theory to implementation. Flexible payment plans are available, and clients are given regular updates throughout the project.
When working with Shape you can expect to take advantage of the extensive range of skills and insights that the whole team of branding and web designers, web developers, SEO specialists, and copywriters can provide. Likewise, if you do need to add on extra services, say a new website to roll out to match your new branding, then you’re in the right place.
Feel like Shape may be the right fit for you? Get in contact.
Ditto is an independent boutique branding consultancy and creative design agency based on a beautiful Victorian farm in rural Kent. They’re a family business: father and daughter, Derek and Hannah, and Hannah’s partner, Dan.
Their clients range from ambitious start-ups to established brands looking to breathe new life into their identity.
They offer a fresh yet familiar, and thoughtful approach that brings together all of the elements of a brands identity to weave a rich story – the tone of voice and language, the typography, the colour palette, illustration, the nuances of photography and written word to create an identity with true depth that builds a connection at every possible level.
Their portfolio features a range of clients including gourmet cookie purveyors Thomas Cookie Co, personalised gift retailers Sunday’s Daughter, and sustainable and cruelty-free skincare range Eaves Organics.
Ethical, welcoming, and with a focus on forming long-lasting and positive client-agency relationships, this notable agency makes for a fantastic option for a small business.
North-west branding agency Alphabet was founded on the premise of providing a breath of fresh air in a busy market, and their small but dedicated team bring their expertise to a range of clients from small, new business to established household names.
With Alphabet, the focus isn’t on the size of your company, and they want their clients to feel valued like they’re not just another name on a jam-packed list.
Using a carefully chosen combination of branding, print, packaging, web, social and physical formats to tell your unique story, they can make any brand come alive.
Glasgow-based Jamhot is an international creative strategy, branding and design studio that works with clients of all sizes, throughout the world.
They believe in the power of focused creative teams to achieve big things and have purposefully kept their Scottish studio small and sustainable while enabling their clients to grow. When you work with Jamhot you deal directly with the experienced studio founders who work in close partnership with all clients. Regardless of business size, clients can feel confident that they’ll feel connected and heard throughout the branding process.
Their specialities include design and branding, creative campaigns, copywriting, art direction, photography, film and video, illustration and animation, and digital design and development.
If you’re a small business in need of branding from the ground up, or a total brand overhaul, then London agency Brand Purist should absolutely be on your list.
Their portfolio features work from a range of industries including fashion, tech, media, professional services, retails, arts and culture, and more.
While offering all of the usual branding services, Brand Purist have recently launched something a little different — brand sprints. These packages make them particularly desirable to any small business or start-up looking to launch their brand on a lower budget and in as little as 10 days.
Clients can choose from four options, all geared towards the key stages of the branding process, just in a compressed form with maximum efficiency.
Included design assets for all four sprints include the essential items that most businesses need to get started. These include a logo, typographic style and colour palette, email signature, brand guidelines, social media profiles, letterhead and business card design.
Brand sprints are a highly collaborative experience, and one of the reasons they make branding more affordable is that work is shared between the sprint team. Clients aren’t expected to design their own logo for example, but they will be expected to contribute to competitor and audience analysis. Clients will also have to attend around 5 hours of workshop and feedback sessions during the ten-day sprint.
A good option if you’re in a hurry, have a particularly low budget, and fancy diving into the process yourself.
For clients looking for a more detailed, full-service approach, where you hardly need to worry about a thing, the comprehensive classic branding package is recommended.
Your audience should have no problem instantly recognising your brand and should be able to differentiate you from your competitors easily. There are more brands than ever out there, and recognisability does wonder for fostering loyalty. While branching out and trying something new isn’t a bad thing, consumers generally like to know what they’re getting, and will repeatedly go back to their favoured, trustworthy brands.
Research shows that 57% of customers spend more money on brands they’re loyal to, and a loyal customer is a repeat customer. Not only do they enjoy the product, service or experience they’ve come to expect, but they look forward to future releases knowing that the brand can be trusted to offer a positive experience.
Imagine this. You’re on the other side of the world, you’re alone and don’t speak the local language. You’re tired, thirsty and you stumble across a shop selling drinks and snacks. You don’t recognise the names or packaging of anything in the fridges until a bold, bright, red can with that infamous white typography shines back at you. Before you’ve even opened the can you know exactly what you’re getting. You’re instantly put at ease and pick up and pay for it without a second thought. You could have just as easily enjoyed or even preferred one of the many drinks in that fridge, but the emotive relationship you have with Coke won out.
You remember having your first red can at a birthday party as a child, the personalised bottle your crush found and bought for you when you were a teen, and the Christmas advert that gets you in the festive spirit every year. Via some extremely smart branding and a strategy that spans decades, Coca-Cola has focused on building its brand, instead of a product. The product itself has changed only minimally over the years, but instead of advertising how delicious coke may be, they’ve invested in creating an idea of what life with coke is like.
Throughout multitudes of campaigns, Coca-Cola has consistently communicated one strong, memorable and compelling message: pleasure. Enduring, simple slogans such as “Enjoy” and “Happiness” never go out of style and translate easily to every human around the world.
And while the visuals have progressed since its launch in 1886, the white typography and red colour haven’t changed in any dramatic way since the 1950s.
There is no better example of branding done well, and the companies enduring success just goes to show the importance of good branding and the power of having a strong visual identity.
Now while the famous company may be a huge conglomerate, a strong branding strategy can benefit any business big or small. Just remember, even Coca-Cola started somewhere.
While the budgets and scale may differ, even the smallest, fledgling business will benefit greatly from hiring a brand agency and finding one needn’t be a struggle.
An established brand design agency will have a deep understanding of the importance of branding, and they’ll know how best to create a tailored strategy for your business that will get you the best possible results.
Branding agencies use extensive research, industry knowledge, and impressive design skills to create a visual story that will be communicated across a variety of formats, platforms and environments including logos, apps and websites, social media, magazines, physical environments and more.
With so many of our interactions now online, it stands to reason that some of the personality and humanity have left the business owner–consumer relationship, but you can still build a positive relationship with your audience without ever meeting them in the flesh.
With endless options of where to spend their hard-earned cash, consumers are becoming more conscious of a brand’s values for example, and care more about just the product experience. 66% of consumers say transparency is one of the most attractive qualities in a brand, and this can be communicated via considered and consistent brand design.
When working with a brand design agency you’ll have access to the necessary expertise and industry experience required to design effective brand strategies that support the entire process from conceptualisation to implementation.
The core components of a branding strategy include:
Logo design – One of the very first interactions your audience will have with your brand, and one of the foundations of your brand identity. Once designed it’ll be across all physical and digital channels of your business including your website, social media, business cards, products, packaging, and more.
Brand identity – Your brand identity should be immediately recognisable and inform your audience who you are, the nature of the brand, what you stand for, and give insight into the services and/or products you offer through consistent, strategically planned visuals. The purpose of a brand’s visual identity is to create an emotive, lasting impression, and it should leave your audience with an instant idea of the personality of your brand.
Brand messaging – Crafting the right message is critical to the success of any branding strategy. All communications across a range of channels including website copy, social media content and more, should be tailored to communicate the message of who you are and what you can offer to your audience. A brand design agency will show you how to establish trust with your audience and tell your story, using guidelines tailor-made for your small business.
Brand positioning – Brand positioning allows you to define your brand and helps both you and your audience clarify what lies at the very core of your business proposition. It should cement what you can offer to your audience that others can’t, and when demonstrated effectively, why you are the most valuable, credible, and reliable. The goal is essentially to position yourself as the very best option for your audience, regardless of what your competitors are doing.
Brand voice - tone of voice is crucially important to establish your brand’s personality and position. It should articulate who you are, what you stand for, and how you can serve your audience. A branding agency will be able to pinpoint the perfect tone for your business, using in-depth research and analysis of your target audience and industry. Done well it should successfully reflect your brand and company and should be used consistently across all platforms including your website, social media, blogs and any communication you have with your audience.
Social media branding – No business in 2022 can succeed without some sort of a presence on social media, and it’s imperative to use these channels to demonstrate your brand’s messaging, identity and voice in a way that’ll retain and attract your target audience. A brand agency will demonstrate to you how you can use your branding guidelines to boost brand awareness, attract your audience to engage, and cement yourselves as the main player in your respective industry.
Brand style guide – One of the most valuable things that a branding agency will provide you with is a clear and concise style guide that’ll detail everything from logo usage and typography to tone of voice, visuals, colour palette, and more. This document will instruct how your branding should be communicated and is crucial to ensuring the strategy is rolled out correctly, consistently and ultimately effectively at all levels of the business, from social media interns to stakeholders.
Implementing these branding strategies tailored for you by an agency will ensure that your business is viewed exactly how you wish to portray it, in line with a carefully researched strategy. With good branding, you can increase brand recognition, increase goodwill and trust, increase business value, entice new customers, and build a positive, valuable, and lasting relationship with your entire audience.
There are hundreds of brand agencies in the UK all suited to a variety of business sizes, sectors, and industries.
If you’re a smaller business and on the hunt for a branding agency, it’s important to keep an eye out for a team that is experienced and comfortable in working with companies of your size. By doing so you can be confident that you’ve chosen an agency that will be able to use its skills and industry knowledge to get you the very best results. A smaller budget needn’t mean sub-par results.
With so many branding agencies working across the UK, we hope our list has given you an idea of the breadth of talent and experience available to you even if you’re a small business dipping its toe in the branding waters for the very first time.
If you have questions about how to find the agency for you, visit How do I choose a Branding Agency? to read our tips and take another step closer to finding the right match.